A Glutton’s Paradise: Eat Your Way Through Amsterdam on a Dutch Food Tour

Death by tram.

City street in Amsterdam with tram on an Eating Amsterdam Dutch food tour.

The trams come from the left and the right in Amsterdam – pedestrians beware! Photo: The Open Suitcase

It’s not the way I wanted my obituary to read. I stepped out of Amsterdam’s Centraal Station onto a cloverleaf of tracks, heading for the #5 tram across the yard. What I didn’t notice was the #12 aiming for me.

“Drop the suitcase!” my husband and friends hollered. I blinked, stared and froze like a piece of bad, government-commissioned public art. Then the adrenaline kicked in and I darted back to the curb. Continue reading

Feeding Hungry, Hungry Tourists in Philadelphia

GUEST POST:  A little dirty. A bit brash. Philly’s all that and more. I started spending time there when my son enrolled at Drexel University and it was love at first bite. Seriously. The city has so many good restaurants, it can be daunting to choose one. I thought it would be helpful to engage the assistance of an expert. Sarah Ricks is a travel junkie and confirmed Phila-phile. We share a mutual friend who’s a travel editor. He encouraged us to hook up, so I guess this is technically our “first date”. I asked Sarah to share some of her favorite eateries located near Philly’s top tourist spots. I know I can’t wait to hop on the Turnpike and give these a try.

The Barnes

After visiting the Impressionist and post-Impressionist paintings at The Barnes Foundation (where art is displayed alongside Pennsylvania Dutch crafts, per orders of the eccentric Dr. Albert Barnes), you can pick up a convenient picnic lunch a block away at Whole Foods Market. Eat outside the Barnes or nearby at the Swann Fountain. If your visit is timed to avoid weekend brunch lines, the upscale diner Sabrina’s Cafe is a good choice for salads, sandwiches, frittatas, challah French toast, and ever-changing eclectic mash-ups like “cranberry-basil cornbread topped with crispy applewood bacon, arugula, caramelized red onions, broccoli, and over easy eggs.” Continue reading

Florida for Grownups – St. Pete Finale

Now that you have some ideas about where to stay (St. Pete Part I) and what to do (St. Pete Part II), it’s time to think about refreshments.

After you’ve walked and gawked and sunned and surfed, it’s time to eat.  And not at the national chains that populate the rest of Florida, hawking their early bird specials (Yes, Denny’s – this means you.).  Steve Westphal, owner of gotosteves.com, notes that one of the truly unique aspects of St. Pete is the plethora of independently owned and operated restaurants.  Parkshore Grill and Tryst Gastro Lounge (recently selected as one of  Urban Spoon’s 250 Most Popular High-End Restaurants in America) are just two of many excellent locations to enjoy a meal.

Downtown St. Petersburg

Photo: City of St. Petersburg

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The Life Continental: One Big Happy Table

During my travels in Bavaria I was surprised that most of the restaurants featured family-style seating. You would expect such a convivial dining option from Italians or Spaniards – but Germans? I’m sure it evolved as a practical measure to get patrons seated, served and out the door as quickly as possible.

For Phase Two of my 2013 summer staycation, I wanted to replicate that dining experience, so I searched for family-style service and was disappointed to turn up zero results in the tri-state area for restaurants. Entrepreneurs, take note. Last year it was BBQ restaurants. This year? Burger joints. Next year we definitely need family-style dining.

Seeking an alternative, I purchased tickets for a farm-to-table dinner, hoping for a communal dining event and was thrilled to arrive and find long, draped planks under a tent, instead of individual tables. And booze. And a beautiful summer evening.

It felt like Munich minus the dirndls.

Warwick Farm Continue reading